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Anti-idling signs installed in Bayview District to combat industrial pollution

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The Bayview District. (Cindy Chew/S.F. Examiner)
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Due to its proximity to industrial facilities, the Bayview District sees more than its fair share of large diesel trucks cruising down and idling on its streets, raising concerns about pollution and the accompanying negative health effects. But Wednesday a first step was taken to help improve air quality in Bayview—twenty-two signs have been installed around the neighborhood reminding truck drivers not to leave their vehicles idling for more than five minutes.

Idling diesel engines not only create toxic air pollution, but they also contribute to global warming and waste fuel.  In addition, diesel exhaust is proven to be destructive to respiratory health, and has been linked to asthma, premature death, and lung cancer.

The efforts to “spare the air” were spearheaded by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, and Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice

“Idling trucks are a menace to clean, healthy air,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “When trucks idle, they cause unnecessary air pollution costing the drivers money on added fuel expense and spewing noxious fumes into the neighborhoods where they idle.”

The state’s anti-idling regulation was adopted in 2004, and prohibits trucks that weight 10,000 lbs or more from idling for more than five minutes. If you’re caught, fines range from $300 to $1,000 per day.

“Our diesel idling regulation is an important element in our strategy to significantly reduce toxic diesel emissions and exposure in California,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard W. Corey. “These ‘No-Idling’ signs serve as a reminder that the requirements benefit truck owners and the public.  That is because the program reduces fuel consumption and saves money while cleaning up the air throughout the state, particularly in the most heavily impacted disadvantaged communities.”

But anti-pollution organizations are not the only ones pleased about this latest step: residents of Bayview are also happy to receive some public assistance to clean up the air in their neighborhood. “We had to do something to stop this unnecessary pollution,” said Marie Harrison, Community Organizer with Greenaction. “We are delighted that the signs are finally going up in our community which has suffered from pollution for far too long.”

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